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Caladium: Foliar Fireworks for Shade

Caladium can come in shades of pink, red, white and many shades of green.

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Summer color is always a challenge in the shade garden. Among the most valuable plants for filling the summer color void are the many showy-leaved hybrids of the tropical American native, Caladium bicolor. Available in a range of flamboyant hues, including flamingo-pink and flaming red, these tender perennials kick into […]

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Best Shade Perennials for East Coast Gardens

Coral bells come in a wide array of colors.

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Shady spaces are a frequent source of frustration for flower-loving gardeners. Annuals, like impatiens (regular and New Guinea) and wishbone flowers (Click here to read more about wishbone flower), can help, but for a truly vibrant landscape, dependable flowering perennials are a must. Put your frustration aside, because the options are plentiful, even for the dreaded […]

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Spring to Fall Vegetable Rotation Planting for Non-stop Garden Produce

Row cropping or blocked beds make it easy to rotate crops from one year to the next.

Vegetable gardening is a dynamic process. Gardeners have to shift from cool-season spring vegetables to warm-season summer vegetables back to cool-weather crops. In between, savvy gardeners rotate their crops to maximize their output and health. Here are some seasonal planting and rotation tips that will help vegetables transition effortlessly and produce […]

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The Best Japanese Maples for Landscapes

Japanese maples in the Palmatum Group bear hand-shaped leaves with 5 to 7 (or occasionally 9) pointed lobes.

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Japanese maples are a whole field (or forest) of horticulture in themselves. Encompassing thousands of cultivars, this enchanting tribe of small trees is the stuff of which lifelong horticultural obsessions are made.

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Purple Vegetables for Color and Nutrition

 

At various times and places, purple has been the color of royalty, rock stars, and rebellion. It has represented bravery, as well as overwrought prose. A shade of purple—mauve—was even used to describe the 1890’s, a time when the invention and widespread use of aniline dyes made purple fabrics and clothes widely available.

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Beautiful Flowers for Rain Gardens

This summer rain garden shows a mix of flower favorites. (Image by David Steakly)

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Any low, wet area in the yard where rainwater runoff collects after a storm has the potential to be a spectacular, flower-filled rain garden. Maintaining these landscape reservoirs as beneficial gardens rather than stressed turf will save time and headaches and improve your yard’s looks—as long as you plant the right plants and create a design for all-season […]

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Bald Cypress for the Landscape

Bald cypress “knees” are an interesting characteristic of mature specimens planted in moist soils.
Even if you’ve never been to the Southeast U.S., you’re probably familiar with one of its signature plant communities: the bald cypress swamp. Nothing looks more “Deep South” than a flooded grove of buttress-trunked Taxodium distichum draped with Spanish moss. It might surprise you then to learn that bald cypress makes an excellent (and hardy) subject for all sorts of garden […]

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Wishbone Flowers for Shade Garden Color

The flowers of Torenia Summer Wave® Large Blue look spectacular close up.
Gardeners the world over have long suffered from a common ailment—we covet plants, climate conditions, and time that we don’t have. This is especially true of gardeners with shady landscapes. Our gardens may support all kinds of ferns, but we want roses. Hostas the size of small houses sprout without any help at all while we pine for sunflowers. The list of “wants” […]

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Lessons from Wartime Victory Gardens


Victory Gardens inspired millions of Americans that had never gardened to grow food to feed their families. Everyday people learned to garden on a homesteading scale. And, my family was no exception. My maternal grandparent’s Victory Garden taught them to fend for themselves and eat well when wartime rations were most limited.

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Grape Hyacinths: Small Scented Wonders of Spring

Muscari armeniacum is the luscious grape hyacinth that naturally spreads in the garden.
No group of plants does “adorable” and “blue” better than grape hyacinths. Most gardeners know these captivating little bulbs by way of Muscari armeniacum and its allies, whose elfin spires of chubby blue flowers do indeed resemble tiny bunches of grapes. But there’s another, equally delightful side to the Muscari tribe, with numerous species that are not at all grape-like in bloom. Botanists […]

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